Gina Osterloh: Group Dynamics and Improper Light

Group Dynamics and Improper Light was a four month residency and solo exhibition by Los Angeles based artist Gina Osterloh. Osterloh constructs life-size room environments and activates them through still serial performances, paper-maché models, and cardboard cutouts. Group Dynamics and Improper Light will explore the relationships between abstraction and identity, the space between individuals, and what determines “a group” within a social context.

This commission marked a new arc in Osterloh’s career. Group Dynamics and Improper Light is the first time the artist’s process has been made public – her meticulous set construction, how each set is dependent upon her 4×5 large format camera, lighting decisions, and experimentation with materials.

For her residency at LACE, Osterloh moved her entire studio practice into the main gallery  and constructed a life-size room environment from start to finish. The gallery has been open to the public, allowing Osterloh to engage with visitors as part of her process. When a visitor enters the gallery, they will walk into a unique working stage set installed in the gallery. The set explores abstraction and identity through the lens of “improper light”, as each material and light both illuminates and obscures the subjects being photographed.

For the first month of her residency, she invited gallery visitors to participate by tracing their shadows on cardboard. Over fifty traced shadows were then cut out and covered with a repetitive line pattern which resulted in a new group portrait, a New Family of Chance. In a separate set design, Reclining Man was created from a double projection, resulting in an oversized tracing of a reclining man figure.

All of the traced figures were arranged in the large scale set, constructed in the gallery, which operated as Osterloh’s open studio for the duration of her residency. Using a 4×5 view camera, the sets were photographed; the three selected photographs below were exhibited during the final two weeks of her residency, along with a new three channel video & audio installation, Pulling Apart Voice.

The exhibition was accompanied by a book project, Group Dynamics, published by LACE, distributed by RAM publications, and designed by Henri Willem Lucas. During her residency Osterloh also collaborated with artist Michelle Dizon on a short form video work, Transnational Identity, produced by KCET Artbound.

  • Gina Osterloh
LACE (Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions)
June 28 - September 30, 2012